ASU water polo falls to UCLA in semifinals of MPSF championships
After upsetting USC in the first round of the MPSF championships, the ASU water polo team wasn't able to pull off another and fell to UCLA 10-7 in the semifinal round.
UCLA, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, defeated CSU Bakersfield in the first round 12-3.
The Bruins were the first to strike, but the game had been scoreless for much of the early parts.
The Bruins scored two in a row to lead 2-0 with not much time left in the first quarter.
Junior defender Ao Gao put ASU on the board to end the first quarter down by one.
In the second quarter, UCLA scored several goals in a row.
The first came on a six-on-five conversion, followed by two more shortly after to bring the score 5-1.
Near the end of the second quarter, the Bruins scored on a penalty shot to increase their lead again.
Freshman attacker Izabella Chiappini followed close behind and scored a goal of her own with one minute left in the quarter.
UCLA led 6-2 at the end of the first half of play.
ASU came out scoring first at the start of the second half, but both teams were back and forth for much of the third quarter.
Freshman center Alkistis Benekou scored to cut the UCLA lead, but UCLA followed closely behind and scored another goal of its own.
Junior utility Liz Kreek scored a goal near the end of the third quarter, but the ASU defense was no match for UCLA. The Bruins scored two more goals in a short period of time to end the third quarter 9-4.
UCLA scored quickly at the start of the first to increase its lead even further, 10-4.
However, the ASU offense became alive and several Sun Devils scored in the next few minutes.
Sophomore defender Kate Enoka and junior attacker Annie Kertes scored back-to-back goals to cut the lead to 10-6.
UCLA earned a power play opportunity but was unsuccessful, which gave ASU the ball.
Gao scored with 50 seconds left in the game, but it wasn’t enough for ASU.
Redshirt sophomore goalie E.B. Keeve recorded only seven saves in the game, whereas her average number of saves on the season was 12.53 per game.
With its win, UCLA will play No. 1 Stanford for the MPSF championship tomorrow.
ASU will play No. 4 California, which lost its semifinal game to Stanford, for third place at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Reach the reporter at Megan.Kavy@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @meggiekavy